“She broke out in an almost emotional state and said ‘I just want to go elk calling with dad, that’s all I want to do for my birthday!’
She’s been practicing with her tube at camp almost every night and day. We didn’t really teach her, she just kind of picked up on it.”
Sure enough, Kalea and her husband, Dillon, were willing to make that dream come true, as they went out the night before, and the morning of, Ridgley’s sixth birthday.
Throughout the sittings, Ridgley was able to call in multiple elk through her homemade cardboard bugle tube, but there was one elk in particular that set itself apart from the rest…
We’re talking about a 7×6 trophy bull elk, that answered to her without hesitation.
Dillon told the outlet:
“He was several hundred yards away when we first saw him, it was super foggy and we walked out on that point. It had stormed the day before and we didn’t have good visibility to glass, but the elk were talking.
She gave her bugle and he immediately responded and started coming in to about 65 yards. I think she called at him once more and he came out of the trees and stood broadside for about 5 to 10 minutes.
Had we been hunting, he would have been a very easy bull to kill, since he was standing broadside and within range.”
Dillon and Kalea own an outfitting operation in north-central Arizona, and have raised Ridgley and their 2.5-year-old son Rocklen Chase how to live off the land, and after taking up an interest in calling elk, Ridgley was ready to put her practice to the test.
Ridgley told the outlet:
“My dad was trying to help me find elk, and I’ve heard videos before and I wanted to do it. It works for me. I’ve been practicing.”
Dillon also discussed his daughter’s newfound love for elk calling:
“We’ll be sitting around the campfire and she’ll be making elk calls and getting bulls to respond when we’re having dinner with all the clients. It’s good entertainment.”